China’s Military Base in Djibouti

China’s Military Base in Djibouti: A Microcosm of China’s Growing Competition with the United States and New Bipolarity
Jean-Pierre Cabestan
Journal of Contemporary China, 23 décembre 2019

This article analyzes China’ and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)’s rationale in opening what it calls a ‘logistical support facility’ in Djibouti as well as the missions that it is supposed to fulfil. The author also presents this base’s activities since its opening on 1 August 2017 and explores the potential role that the Chinese military stationed in Djibouti could play to secure Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative and protect Chinese interests and nationals in Africa or the Middle East. Finally, it assesses the PLA base’s relations with other militaries present in Djibouti, particularly the US, the French and the Japanese, concluding that Djibouti operates as a microcosm of a multipolar world heading owards a bipolar, though asymmetrical, world order.

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